August 7, 2012

I can hardly believe that I just spent $1,129.16 for a one-night, mother-daughter getaway to a top-rated spa. No regrets! In fact, if I’ve got a glow, it’s probably due to the benefits of quality bonding time with my kid, the facial — and a chance to splurge like it’s 2003 again.

But seriously, our trip offered very good value and I would definitely recommend Mohonk Mountain House in New York’s lush Hudson Valley. We just got back from this century-old, historic Victorian castle that’s been in the Smiley family for generations. They’ve pumped millions of dollars into updating their New Paltz resort with a lovely spa that gets high marks from Conde Naste Traveller’s 2012 readers’ choice survey.

Even though the spa was fab, it’s totally possible to skip it and still have a great time. You don’t even have to stay at Mohonk to enjoy this famous  venue; day trippers are welcome, with rates for “day guests” who come to hike, boat, eat or spa. Another plus is the crowd. Everyone is very down-to-earth. No snotty beautiful people anywhere. Just regular folk. Tons of families with kids, couples of all ages and groups of friends hanging out.

Our basic bill-for-two was $520. I booked the cheapest room available and it was still a charmer. This price covered three meals at Mohonk’s food coma-inducing, all-you-can-eat buffets, valet parking, all tips, complimentary access to the pool, all boating, hiking trails and tours, fitness center yoga classes, evening campfires, movies and more.

The room was adorable — two twin beds with a nifty, compact full bathroom and private balcony where we’d sit in the rocking chairs and inhale the incredible Mohonk Lake view. So the total for everything mentioned up to this point breaks out to $260 per person for a 30-hour stay.

And here are three tips for getting even more for your money on that basic bill…

Tip #1: Go early and stay late. The Mohonk folks are exceedingly generous. While check-in is at 4 p.m. and check-out is at 1 p.m., overnight guests are welcome to arrive whenever. We showed up at 11 a.m. and didn’t leave until after taking two late afternoon yoga classes. Next time, we will go even earlier to take advantage of the guided hikes and strolls that tend to start around 10 a.m.

Tip #2: Spend $25 to enjoy the spa facilities. The spa is such a peaceful, pretty oasis. There’s an outdoor hot mineral pool, a solarium completele with cozy furniture and fireplace, and an indoor veranda featuring lounge chairs overlooking the woods.

Tip #3: Book way in advance and look for deals. A two-night weekend stay is the the norm. Then again, I called months before our scheduled Sunday night stay and was told that booking ahead of time for one night was sometimes okay, depending on the time of year, etc. There are also periodic special deals on the website, although getting in during peak season is tough. In fact, it’s only August now and Mohonk’s three-night minimum for Thanksgiving weekend is already sold out.


Now back to the spa….what a treat! Taking photos wasn’t allowed. Instead, here is the link to the spa menu of more than 80 services. The listed prices include tax and tip, which was a relief for me. Gabi really enjoyed both her 50-minute, $120 teen massage and the $80, 25-minute teen facial. As for me, I had my first facial in six years, a 50-minute, $120 deep-cleansing that was very refreshing.

We had so much fun that we hated to leave. Mohonk is such a magical place. And someday, we will be back again.  :)